HMGP Elevation Program Currently Assisting 460 Families with Costs of Raising their Homes
Trenton, NJ – Governor Chris Christie today announced the distribution of 132 more federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) awards to assist homeowners with costs incurred in elevating their homes to protect against future flooding and storms. In the latest round of grant awards, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved applications from the Department of Environmental Protection for properties in 29 municipalities, bringing the total of approved post-Superstorm Sandy elevation grant awards to 460, totaling approximately $12 million.
“These grants are helping families in communities that were battered by Sandy to elevate their homes and make them more resilient to future storms,’’ said Governor Christie. “We intend to continue pressing hard to get more grants out as quickly as possible to allow those still recovering to put their lives back together.’’
The DEP has submitted more than 1,200 post-Sandy elevation applications to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and expects more approvals in the near future.
The latest round of elevation awards will be made to property owners in Atlantic, Monmouth and Ocean counties, which bore the brunt of the battering from Superstorm Sandy. A first round of awards was approved in April for 26 homeowners in Brigantine in Atlantic County, and subsequent grants have been awarded to property owners in seven counties, bringing the total to 460 property owners.
A series of community meetings with the latest grant recipients will be held in the near future to help guide them through the final steps of the grant award process.
New Jersey has committed $100 million in HMGP funds provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to elevate approximately 2,700 primary residential structures in the nine counties deemed by HUD as most impacted by Superstorm Sandy – Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union.
Under the HMGP Elevation Program, eligible recipients receive up to $30,000 for a broad range of work associated with home elevations, including engineering, construction, permits and utility work. The money is reimbursed after the work is completed. Homes must be deemed structurally sound to be eligible.
“These grants provide vital financial assistance to New Jersey residents who are elevating their homes to provide protection against future storms and floods,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “In addition to moving people and property out of harm’s way, elevating homes will likely lower flood insurance premiums for homeowners by helping them comply with FEMA flood maps.”
The 132 awards announced today will be made to homeowners in Absecon, Atlantic City, Brigantine, Egg Harbor Township, Longport and Ventnor City in Atlantic County; Belmar, Brielle, Keansburg, Manasquan, Monmouth Beach, Oceanport, Port Monmouth, Rumson, Spring Lake and Sea Bright in Monmouth County; and Berkeley Township, Brick, Eagleswood Township, Lacey Township, Lavallette, Little Egg Harbor, Long Beach Township, Ocean Township, Point Pleasant Beach, Seaside Heights, Ship Bottom, Stafford, Surf City and Toms River. More than half of the homeowners who have applied for elevation grants are in Ocean and Monmouth counties.
“It has been a rough road since Superstorm Sandy but we are thankful for the grant money that will help us elevate our home,’’ said Keansburg resident Linda Patterson, who resides on Beaconlight Avenue with her husband Rob. “We are transplants from New York and have come to love our neighborhood and our neighbors in Keansburg, so that made it an easy choice for us to decide to remain in our home of 5 years and to elevate it to protect us better from future storms.’’
Homeowners Brian and Gina Katz had just purchased their Beaconlight Avenue house six months prior to Sandy and spent most of that summer gutting their kitchen. “The grant program has been a blessing in that it is allowing us to protect our home in the future,” said Gina Katz. “We love the neighborhood we chose, we love the house and we hope to never have to go through something like this again”
Other key Sandy recovery programs at the DEP include the Blue Acres Acquisition Program, which is acquiring 1,300 properties in Sandy-impacted areas and other areas that have sustained repetitive flood losses. The DEP also is partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to advance beach and dune construction projects along the state’s entire coastline that will reduce risk to life, property and infrastructure.
For more on Sandy recovery efforts in New Jersey, visit http://www.state.nj.us/gorr/ and http://www.state.nj.us/dep/special/hurricane-sandy/